Sunday, December 16, 2012

In wake of Newtown, Baker goes sinister

Question : If you were an American libertarian blogger who had spent almost every waking moment over the last decade advancing the fantastical notion that a gun free-for-all has made your country safer, how do you think you would react to this latest horrific gun massacre in Connecticut? Would you a) take a step back and quietly reflect on whether you might, after all, have been missing something, or b) boast about how right you've been all along, and then make a blood-curdling threat about what you and like-minded folk will do if anyone tries to take your guns away?

Long-term readers of this blog who can remember Mr Kevin Baker will probably be able to guess the answer. Here are his latest constructive musings on his favourite topic -

"Newtown, Connecticut is not Dunblane, Scotland"

This is true. There are two key differences between Newtown and Dunblane -

1) Only 18 people died in Dunblane. 27 died in Newtown.

2) Lessons were actually learned after Dunblane. When even President Obama is so cowed by the gun lobby that he authorises his press secretary to make the extraordinary observation that "today is not the day to have a debate about gun control" (when is, for pity's sake?) it seems highly probable that the equivalent lessons will not be learned as a result of Newtown, and consequently these entirely avoidable tragedies will continue to happen - perhaps with increasing frequency, as gun control laws are perversely loosened in some parts of the US.

"Yes, 27 people and one creature are dead, eighteen of those dead people are small children - first-graders. Yes, it's horrible, senseless, inexplicable.

And no, the guns were not at fault."

No, the guns were not at fault. They were all too effective. Just how 'inexplicable' is it that a man with a gun was able to kill far more people in a short space of time than he ever would have managed with his bare hands, or with the proverbial cricket bat?

"Let me just say again for the record:

I won't license.

I won't register.

I won't turn them in.

If you want to make me and several million other law-abiding, tax-paying citizens into felons, beware what you wish for. You may get it."

That does sound disturbingly like code for: "If we don't get our own way, we'll create a bloodbath, and then blame it on everybody but ourselves". True enough, the guns won't be entirely to blame for that either - the other key factors will be the sense of victimhood on the part of the perpetrators, and their failure to take responsibility for their own choices and actions. Those are the typical hallmarks of most 'senseless, inexplicable' massacres.

It should be remembered that the process of turning a "law-abiding citizen" into a felon is a remarkably simple one - it consists of that citizen making a conscious decision to no longer obey the law.


  1. Well Kevin's outburst was absolutely predictable.

    I can't remember whether it is he, or one of his hick respondents who suggested that if only everyone had a gun then none of this would ever happen.

    (Something along the lines of the argument that the UK government makes for having £100 billion worth of wmds in Scotland.)

    I wonder if he seriously thinks that these first graders should have been armed, and should sit in school with one finger poised ready to pull the trigger.

    Sadly I can't see there being any change for all it is needed. The NRA is too strong, and controls too many politicians for that to happen.

    I suspect that we will have to settle back and wait for the next massacre. It's enough to make you weep.

  2. There are a number of people making such remarks, as though classrooms full of innocent children being caught in a crossfire so that even MORE died would have been a wonderful. I cannot tell you how sickened I am by much of the reaction. After 1996 in Tasmania, the Aussies reacted sanely and now have some of the toughest gun control laws in the world. The same can be said about the tragedy in Dublane. Don't expect to see this happen in the US. Our resident nutcases will use this to fight sane gun control laws.

  3. 1) Only 18 people died in Dunblane. 27 died in Newtown.

    And both incidents happened exactly as you would have wanted them to. You who prefers the victims to be disarmed and the shooter to have all the power. Dunblane and Newtown is what your desire to have people be weak and dependent on help that comes too late leads to, and you. Care. Not.

    That's everybody's life you hold in contempt. If a rampage shooting happened tomorrow in my town, and I found myself 2 seconds away from being shot down by this psycho revelling in the power your sort wants him to have over everyone, that'd be my life you held in contempt. Through you wanting me and everyone else helpless and weak.

    Do you seriously think holding people's lives in contempt, and wanting them to be weak and helpless, is worthy of admiration? If so, think again. For as long as it takes to develop a conscience.

  4. And for J.R. Tomlin, making cracks about how shooters should be left to it while they kill dozens of people -

    In actual fact, waiting for the police to come and stop rampage shooters leads to more deaths than in cases where the shooter was tackled by a civilian already on the scene (armed or otherwise):-

    The average number of people killed in mass shootings when stopped by police is 14.29

    The average number of people killed in a mass shooting when stopped by a civilian is 2.33

    link - (methodology, dataset, and sources all clearly laid out)

    So, A) More people dying when an armed civilian intervenes doesn't happen (because in those cases where the intervening civilian was armed, no innocent bystanders were shot by mistake), and B) You have the same issue James does, in that you think an average of 14.29 dead is better than an average of 2.33. As that's what you would rather see happen.

    If you think 14.29 is better than 2.33, you have no just reason to claim the moral high ground.

  5. Likelihood of that being a voodoo statistic - 99.74

    Now, leaving aside the personalised nature of that rant, let's take a look at whether the claims you make have any logical basis, shall we?

    In both Dunblane and Newtown, the guns used to massacre schoolchildren were legally acquired. Let me just make that simpler for you - it means that the massacres would not have happened if those guns had been banned. We know, for example, that Thomas Hamilton was obsessed with authority, and that there is zero chance that he would have been interested in obtaining handguns had he not been able to do so legally.

    Therefore, if those 'incidents had happened exactly the way I wanted to them to', they would have happened with the perpetrators walking into the school with only their bare hands to use as a weapon - or more likely in Thomas Hamilton's case not bothering to walk into the school at all.

    And what about the Penzance massacre? The Aberystwyth massacre? The Stonehaven massacre? The Grimsby massacre? The Redditch massacre? Did they all happen exactly as I would have wanted them to? Well, yes they did - in the sense that they didn't happen at all. They, of course, represent the additional massacres that would have occurred here if we had US-style gun laws and a US-style gun death rate.

    It seems I care far more about your own safety than you do - I don't actually want you to ever find yourself two seconds away from being shot down. What you care more about is the entirely illusory sense of feeling safer and more empowered that a gun gives you - to hell with the hard reality that you're putting yourself and others at far greater risk.

    Incidentally, on the rare occasions that we have mass shootings in the UK, the Kevin Baker Fan Club always pops up to tell us that there wouldn't be a problem if only the civilian population was able to defend itself with guns while waiting for the police to arrive. Well, if that logic held true, then surely the defensive function of guns should more than offset the offensive toll - ie. the rate of gun deaths should actually be LOWER in the US than it is here. Self-evidently that is not the case. Why do you think that would be?

  6. Likelihood of that being a voodoo statistic - 99.74

    You say in complete ignorance, having clearly not actually gone to the site in question to see for yourself. Probably because you can tell that the 14.29:2.33 ratio disproves your cracks about 'not laying down and dying just puts you at far greater risk'.

    In both Dunblane and Newtown, the teachers were unarmed, and helpless to stop the killers from killing, which is exactly what you do not want to change. If the teachers had had guns with which to stop the shooters in those incidents, you would have rather seen them disarmed, no matter what their disarmament would have (and did) resulted in.

    Your distaste for people fighting back against psychopaths overrides all other considerations.

    What you care more about is the entirely illusory sense of feeling safer

    Unfortunately that's just what 'gun-free zones' do, is they gives people an entirely illusory sense of feeling safer, and that's all you want people to have.

    Well, if that logic held true, then surely the defensive function of guns should more than offset the offensive toll - ie. the rate of gun deaths should actually be LOWER in the US than it is here.

    A very disingenuous argument, given that you're very well aware, through having it pointed out to you several times (but it doesn't suit your ignorance to remember any of it) that the bulk of those guns deaths you refer to are as a result of accidents (which can be averted via measures that don't require disarmament); suicides (likewise); and criminal-on-criminal shootings (which you can thank inner city gang members for).

  7. You know, if you'd had any sense, you wouldn't have pressed me to actually follow that link. Until that point, there was at least a theoretical doubt in my mind that you might be referring to a proper academic analysis, as opposed to a home-baked blog 'analysis' of which we will now sample the quality (and this, genuinely, is a direct quote) -

    "I posted a graphic on Facebook claiming the average number of people killed in mass shootings when stopped by police is 18.25, and the average number of people killed in a mass shooting when stopped by civilians is 2.2. I based it on 10 shootings I found listed on some timeline somewhere. I honestly don’t even remember where. I presented the case studies in a blog post on the Silver Circle blog and I did the math myself...

    Most of the data came from either Wikipedia, a mainstream news article about the incident, or a handy resource I discovered called Murderpedia."

    Let's move on, shall we? I've no wish to embarrass the guy any further.

    Your second paragraph is a load of waffle designed to distract attention from your failure to come up with an answer to the point that the massacres wouldn't actually have happened in the first place if only the guns used had been subject to a legal ban. Nice try. My only comment is this - given that we now know the consequences of allowing Lanza's paranoid mother to own lethal firearms, do you really think it's such a wizard idea to also have a loaded firearm lying around in every classroom for "defensive purposes"?

    "that the bulk of those guns deaths you refer to are as a result of accidents (which can be averted via measures that don't require disarmament)"

    Ah, would those measures by any chance consist of trusting every single one of countless millions of gun-owners to follow the correct safety procedures to the letter? Yes, that sounds like a fool-proof plan! What could possibly go wrong?

    "suicides (likewise)"

    In this case, I'm guessing the corrective measure might be to exhort gun-owning suicidal people to stop feeling so suicidal? Of course! Of course! I've been such a fool...

  8. Gun nuts are just that. Nutcases. Please get the madman to just have a tragic accident and do the planet a favour.

    If you see a crime and pull your lovely gun and start shooting how do you know it's not plainclothes police? How do you stop the next gun nut from reacting to YOU pulling YOUR gun by pulling THEIR gun and shooting you? Answer tha if you are even capable of rational thought.

  9. [James Kelly reads the full article and decides to only excerpt a small part of it that he thinks he can use against the writer's credibility]

    Kelly that is low, even for you. Since you know full well, the writer of that linked-to article redid his numbers, and sourced his information from the following places -

    1. Info Please
    2. CNN
    3. Denver Post
    4. News Max
    5. TruTV

    So you're now a knowing and blatant liar, and seriously stupid to boot. By which I mean, it must have crossed your mind that all I had to do to show you up as being a knowing and blatant liar was post the relevant information that you saw fit not to share, in order to support a lie.

    In fact, I'll be sharing the rest of the article right here in your comments, just to drive home the fact that you're a knowing and blatant liar.

    You might also want to consider how this reflects on your supporters here, many of whom I presume won't care about you knowingly and blatantly lying to them.

    (I'm not even going to remark on your ignoring the 'criminal-on-criminal' shootings, other than to say we can't expect anything better from a knowing and blatant liar.

  10. So here we go.

    So, I started over, only much more meticulous this time. I compiled and analyzed 100 shootings, noting my methodology, and I am now prepared to present my findings, complete with links to the data. But here’s a spoiler… It’s not that different.
    The average number of people killed in mass shootings when stopped by police is 14.29
    The average number of people killed in a mass shooting when stopped by a civilian is 2.33
    I was so close! Here’s what I think accounts for the difference. In the first sample there was likely a selection error based on what grabs headlines. Larger shootings get more press, so if you take a small sampling you’re going to be working with a data set of the worst shootings. As for the consistency of the civilian statistic, it makes perfect sense if you think about from inside the mind of a heroic civilian with a concealed carry permit. It goes something like this:
    “Holy crap! that guy shot that other guy.”
    “He’s just going to keep shooting people.”
    And the shooter goes down.
    Quite a few cases went something like that. In fact, I found only one example of a shooter stopped by civilians who killed more than 3 people. Jared Loughner killed 6 people in Tucson, Arizona before he was tackled by two civilians. An astute reader informed me that at least one of the civilians that helped stop Jared Loughner was carrying a concealed weapon, but he did not use his gun out of concern for innocent bystanders.
    I want to be perfectly clear. I am not much of a firearms enthusiast. I don’t own a firearm. I’ve only ever been shooting twice. For me it’s not an issue of gun rights. It’s about property rights. A person has a natural right to own a hunk of iron in any damn shape they want, and they shouldn’t be criminalized until they use that hunk of iron to harm someone. People can argue crime statistics ’till they’re blue in face. I frankly don’t care about people’s ideas for managing society.
    What I am is a math enthusiast. So, without further delay, here’s how I arrived at these numbers.
    Step One: Amassing a data set
    I searched for timelines of shootings and selected 5 that appeared the most comprehensive.
    1. Info Please
    2. CNN
    3. Denver Post
    4. News Max
    5. TruTV
    While doing this I learned some important vocabulary. A “spree shooting” is when a killer murders in multiple locations with no break between murders. As in the Virginia Tech killer who began shooting in one hall, and then walked across campus and continued shooting in another hall. A “mass shooting” is when a killer murders multiple people, usually in a single location. As in the Fort Hood shooter who killed 13 people at one military base. A “school shooting” can be either of these as long as one or more locations is a school. As in the Columbine shooting, which is also classified as a spree shooting because they went from room to room. The term “rampage shooting” is used to describe all of these, and does not differentiate between them. So that is the term I’ll be using from here on out.

  11. More -
    As many have pointed out, none of the weapons involved are “automatic weaponry” or “assault rifles” but they are often misreported as such by media outlets that lack knowledge of firearms.
    I selected these lists because they were the most comprehensive of those that I found, and I was seeking as large a data set as possible. I combined them all, including the first 10 from my previous post, and removed all redundant data for a total list of 100 shootings.
    Step Two: Trimming irrelevant data.
    While the list was comprehensive, the details about each shooting were not. In each shooting I had a date and a location, but often important details, like the number of people killed, or how the shooter was apprehended were missing. So, I set to the long task researching each incident to fill in the missing data. I didn’t incorporate the number of wounded people because so many were not reported. But the reason they call a single death a shooting rampage is because there were many injuries. All relevant data is contained in the links in the finished list below or in the timelines linked above. Most of the data came from either Wikipedia, a mainstream news article about the incident, or a handy resource I discovered called Murderpedia.
    Next I removed incidents that did not fit within the scope of this analysis. Even though every incident on the list was a shooting, not every incident was a rampage shooting. So, I selected for incidents that included at least some indiscriminate targeting of bystanders. I removed incidents like Dedric Darnell Owens who shot and killed his classmate Kayla Rolland and then threw his handgun in a wastebasket (*meaning I removed incidents where the shooter killed all he was going to kill and stopped, because neither police or civilians actually reduced the deaths at the scene.) And I removed incidents like Michele Kristen Anderson who killed her entire family at a Christmas Party. So what remained were specifically rampage shootings in which a killer went someplace public and began firing at random people.
    Suicide presented a tricky variable in the analysis. Roughly half of the remaining rampage shooters ended their own lives. So, I removed all incidents where the shooter killed themselves before police arrived reasoning that they had killed all they were going to kill and police had no impact in stopping them. Theoretically these incidents could have been stopped sooner by a civilian, but let’s not speculate. What I left in were incidents where shooters commit suicide after engaging the police, either during a shootout with police, or after a chase. I included, for example, Jiverly Wong, who witnesses say stopped shooting and killed himself as soon as he heard sirens but before police arrived, crediting the police’s response time with stopping the murders. But I did not include the shooters themselves in the total number of people killed.
    I also removed cases like Edward Charles Allaway who shot up a library, then fled to a nearby hotel and called police to turn himself in, and cases like Darrell Ingram who shot up a high school dance and fled the scene only to be apprehended later after a long investigation. I was only looking for incidents when intervention from police or civilian saved lives.
    What remained was 32 cases of gunmen firing indiscriminately whose rampage was cut short through the intervention of either a civilian or a police officer.
    Step Three: The List
    I divided the remaining cases into two categories, those stopped by police and those stopped by civilians. I included both armed and unarmed civilians for reasons that will become clear in the final analysis. I also removed cases like Dominick Maldonado and Charles Joseph Whitman. Moldonado went on a shooting rampage in a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington, and ultimately surrendered to police but was confronted by two legally armed civilians who interrupted his shooting. They did not fire for fear of hitting innocent bystanders.

  12. More-
    Whitman climbed a tower at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas and began shooting at other students and faculty with a sniper rifle. The police who stopped Charles Whitman were assisted by a civilian with a more powerful rifle. I’m calling incidents like this an assist from civilians and removing them from the analysis as anomalies.
    9/6/1949 - Howard Barton Unruh went on a shooting rampage in Camden, New Jersey with a German Luger. He shot up a barber shop, a pharmacy and a tailor’s shop killing 13 people. He finally surrendered after a shoot-out with police.
    7/18/1984 – James Oliver Huberty shot up a McDonalds in San Ysidro, California killing 21 people before police shoot and killed him.
    10/16/1991 - George Hennard entered Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas and began indiscriminately shooting the patrons. He killed 23 people in all. He commit suicide after being cornered and wounded in a shootout with police.
    12/7/1993 – Colin Ferguson brought a handgun into a Long Island Rail Road car and opened fire at random. He killed 6 people before passengers Michael O’Connor, Kevin Blum and Mark McEntee tackled him while reloading.
    11/15/1995 – Jamie Rouse used a .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle to fire indiscriminately inside Richland High School in Lynnville, Tennessee. He killed 2 people before being tackled by a football player and a coach.
    2/2/1996 - Barry Loukaitis entered Frontier Middle School in Moses Lake, Washington with a rifle and two handguns. He killed 3 people before the Gym teacher, Jon Lane grabbed the rifle and wrestled the gunman to the ground.
    10/1/1997 - Luke Woodham put on a trench coat to conceal a hunting rifle and entered Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi. He killed 3 students before vice principal Joel Myrick apprehended him with a Colt .45 without firing.
    12/1/1997 - Michael Carneal brought a pistol, two rifles and two shotguns to his high school in Paducah, Kentucky and opened fire on a small prayer group killing 3 girls. His rampage was halted when he was tackled by another student.
    4/24/1998 - Andrew Wurst attended a middle school dance in Edinboro, Pennsylvania intent on killing a bully but shot wildly into the crowd. He killed 1 student. James Strand lived next door. When he heard the shots he ran over with his 12 gauge shotgun and apprehended the gunman without firing.

  13. More-
    5/21/1998 - Kipland Kinkel entered Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon with two pistols and a semi-automatic rifle hidden under a trench coat. He opened fire killing 2 students, but while reloading a wounded student named Jacob Ryker tackled him.
    4/20/1999 - Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were the killers behind the Columbine shooting in Littleton, Colorado. The two both commit suicide after police arrived, but what many people do not know is that the school’s armed security guard and the police all stood and waited outside the library while executions happed right inside. 15 people died, not including the shooters.
    7/31/1999 - Mark Barton was a daytrader who went on a shooting rampage through two day trading firms in Atlanta, Georgia. He killed 12 people in all and after a police chase he was surrounded by police at a gas station where he commit suicide.
    1/16/2002 – Peter Odighizuwa opened fire with a handgun at The Appalachian School in Grundy, Virginia. 3 people were killed before the shooter was apprehended by 3 students, Mikael Gross, Ted Besen, and Tracy Bridges with handguns without firing.
    8/27/2003 – Salvador Tapia entered an auto parts store in Chicago, Illinois and shot and killed 6 people with a handgun. He then waged a gunbattle with police before a SWAT team fatally wounded him.
    9/24/2003 – John Jason McLaughlin brought a .22-caliber pistol to Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Minnesota. He killed 2 people before PE teacher, Mark Johnson confronted him, disarmed him, and held him in the school office for police to arrive.
    2/25/2005 – David Hernandez Arroyo Sr. opened fire on a public square from the steps of a courthouse in Tyler, Texas. The shooter was armed with a rifle and wearing body armor. Mark Wilson fired back with a handgun, hitting the shooter but not penetrating the armor. Mark drew the shooter’s fire, and ultimately drove him off, but was fatally wounded. Mark was the only death in this incident.
    3/21/2005 – Jeff Weise was a student at Red Lake High School in Red Lake, Minnesota. He killed 7 people including a teacher and a security guard. When police cornered him inside the school, he shot and killed himself.
    11/8/2005 – Kenneth Bartley, Jr. brought a .22 caliber pistol to Campbell County Comprehensive High School in Jacksboro, Tennessee and killed 1 person before being disarmed by a teacher.
    9/29/2006 – Eric Hainstock brought a .22 caliber revolver and a 20-gauge shotgun into Weston High School in Cazenovia, Wisconson. He killed 1 person before staff and students apprehended him and held him until the police arrived.
    4/16/2007 – Seung-Hui Cho was the shooter behind the Virgina Tech shooting in Blacksburg, Virginia. Police apprehend the wrong suspect allowing the shooter to walk across campus and open fire again in a second location. He eventually commit suicide after murdering 32 people.
    12/9/2007 – Matthew J. Murray entered the Youth With A Mission training center in Arvada, Colorado and killed 2 people, then went to the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado killing 2 more. He was shot and injured by church member Jeanne Assam and commit suicide before police arrived.
    9/3/2008 – Isaac Zamora went on a shooting rampage in Alger, Washington that killed 6 people, including a motorist shot during a high speed chase with police. He eventually surrendered to police.
    3/29/2009 – Robert Stewart went on a killing rampage armed with a rifle, and a shotgun in a nursing home in Carthage, North Carolina. He killed 8 people and was apprehended after a shootout with police.

  14. More-
    4/3/2009 – Jiverly Wong went on a shooting rampage at a American Civic Association immigration center in Binghamton, New York where he was enrolled in a citizenship class. 13 people were killed before the shooter killed himself. Witnesses say he turned the gun on himself as soon as he heard police sirens approaching.
    11/5/2009 – Nidal Malik Hasan was the shooter behind the Fort Hood shooting at a military base just outside Killeen, Texas. The shooter entered the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, where personnel are disarmed, armed with a laser sighted pistol and a Smith & Wesson revolver. He killed 13 people before he was shot by a Civilian Police officer.
    2/12/2010 – Amy Bishop went on a shooting rampage in classroom at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Alabama. She killed 3 people before the Dean of the University, Debra Moriarity pushed the her out of the room and blockaded the door. She was arrested later.
    1/8/2011 – Jared Lee Loughner is charged with the shooting in Tucson, Arizona that killed 6 people, including Chief U.S. District Court Judge John Roll. He was stopped when he was tackled by two civilians.
    2/27/2012 – T.J. Lane entered Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio with a handgun and started shooting. 3 students died. The shooter was chased out of the building by a teacher and apprehended by police later.
    4/22/2012 – Kiarron Parker opened fire in a church parking lot in Aurora, Colorado. The shooter killed 1 person before being shot and killed by a member of the congregation who was carrying concealed.
    7/20/2012 – James Holmes went into a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado and opens fire with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. 12 people were killed, before the shooter surrendered to police.
    8/5/2012 – Wade Michael Page entered a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and opened fire killing 6 people. He commit suicide after being shot by police.
    12/14/12 - Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School with two handguns and a riffle and went room to room shooting students and staff. He killed 27 in all including 20 children, and commit suicide after police arrived.
    Step Four: Final analysis
    With 15 incidents stopped by police with a total of 217 dead that’s an average of about 14.29. With 17 incidents stopped by civilians and 45 dead that’s an average of 2.33.
    The first point I want to draw your attention to is that roughly half of shooting rampages end in suicide anyway. What that means is that police are not ever in a position to stop most of them. Only the civilians present at the time of the shooting have any opportunity to stop those shooters. That’s probably more important than the statistic itself. In a shooting rampage, counting on the police to intervene at all is a coin flip at best.

  15. More-
    Second, within the civilian category 11 of the 17 shootings were stopped by unarmed civilians. What’s amazing about that is that whether armed or not, when a civilian plays hero it seems to save a lot of lives. The courthouse shooting in Tyler, Texas was the only incident where the heroic civilian was killed. In that incident the hero was armed with a handgun and the villain was armed with a rifle and body armor. If you compare the average of people killed in shootings stopped by armed civilians and unarmed civilians you get 1.8 and 2.6 but that’s not nearly as significant as the difference between a proactive civilian, and a cowering civilian who waits for police.
    So, given that far less people die in rampage shootings stopped by a proactive civilian, only civilians have any opportunity to stop rampage shootings in roughly half of incidents, and armed civilians do better on average than unarmed civilians, wouldn’t you want those heroic individuals who risk their lives to save others to have every tool available at their disposal?
    * Updated 12/15/2012 – This article was originally posted shortly after the Dark Knight premier shooting in Aurora, Colorado, but I have continued to refine the data set and update the statistics. I am especially grateful to all the knowledgeable commenters who have helped correct my errors. I was also contacted by a college professor who I supplied with all my research notes, so they can be peer-reviewed and perhaps published in a more academic setting. So, in light of the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut that has left 27 dead, including 20 children, I updated this article to reflect shootings that have occurred since the Aurora, Colorado shooting, and corrected the errors that readers brought to my attention. I have preserved the integrity of the original analysis and have only updated the raw numbers and a few factual errors.


    Don't ever tell lies on the internet, Kelly.

  16. Thankyou for that sage advice. I could dismiss that advice as superfluous given that I never have lied on the internet, but no - I'm grateful for the confirmation that I've always followed the morally virtuous path, especially as it comes from a fine upstanding citizen such as yourself, Mr....oh, that's right, I haven't got a sodding clue who you are. That'll be because you've courageously posted all this bile anonymously. Could that be because you've 'lied on the internet' yourself and don't want to be caught out? Or could it simply be that you don't want anyone to put a name to your thuggish posting style? We can only speculate, but whatever the reason, I do sympathise.

    Now, as you seem to be struggling with the meaning of the word 'quote', let me help you. It is very often (and I think others will back me up on this) a small excerpt from a larger hole. If I had said "what follows is the entire thrilling blogpost", that would have been a lie. But I didn't. I did, in fact, accurately describe it as a quote. In fact, to be even more specific, I described it as a "sample".

    I would invite you to reflect on this point carefully, Mr. Whoever You Are. Mastering the difference between a blogpost and "a quote from" or "a sample of" a blogpost will, I suspect, stand you in good stead on future occasions.

    And a small hint - if I really hadn't wanted people to read your favourite Voodoo Statistics R Us blogpost in its full glory, I could have just deleted your comment with the link in it. I know you have a low opinion of this blog's readers, but I suspect even they are just as capable of following a link as they are of reading your own admirable attempt to comprehensively embarrass Davi "I can't remember which timelines I got my brill Facebook statistic from" Barker.

  17. I would have thought, correct me if I am wrong, that our friend anonymous has a, frankly, romantic view of defending yourself. By 'tooling up' OAP's we can be assured that nothing could possibly go wrong.

    I am, perhaps, more in favour of arming children. That worked wonderfully in Africa, I seem to recall.

    This chap has the intellectual clout to go far in the USA.

    There is never an issue with a deeply held belief. It is reality that has to bend.

    And that is how it is in the land of the free, and their minions.

    Wonderful reading.

    Could anonymous forward us all some of the optimism drug he is on?

    Strong, it must be.

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